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Category: Travel to USA

With the long weekend drawing many tourists to the coast we decided instead of heading south east we would head west to avoid any queuing in traffic late in the heat of the day along the coast and struck out through Waynesboro before heading south. It was a lovely ride through country roads with very little traffic until we got onto the more major highways. The communities we travelled through overall appeared more affluent than a lot we had seen yesterday and as always the larger towns appeared to be in better shape than tiny rural communities.

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Cute little coffee spot, Grove Hill. Not much action in town as you can see.

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And this is the tail end of about 15 bikes in a group, one of only two groups we have seen. VERY few bikes to be seen anywhere and all these great roads. Go figure!


Lovely country road ups and downs through the forest.


The sign for Coffeeville (glad we had already had our coffee) the sign was the best thing about the town .. well at least what we could see from the road anyway.


Yet another specie bridge.


And yep I’m coming as well in the mirror.


And a sign at a fuel up stop. You may remember we had seen many signs at the likes of McDonald stores last trip of ‘no loitering past 20mins’. I have a theory about that, they had just started with the McCafé’s at that time here and there were a lot of senior citizen groups in evidence drinking coffee. Well, no signs like that anymore, and no soft seats, all hard plastic and air-conditioning that would freeze your bits off. Problem solved!

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Category: Travel to USA

Humid again and oh my God hot as well. I thought my head was going to explode! We pulled in to fuel up across the road from our hotel and I cooled down sufficiently to get to the hotel. Thought I was a bit of a sook and sometime later when I got my phone out of the pannier it was unbelievably hot so perhaps not.

We managed to take more of the country roads today and the roads themselves were lovely and windy and beautiful surface but the view between forest areas and fields was depressing in the smaller townships we travelled through. We travelled south of Montgomery through Greenville and then onto Evergreen. Like so many other rural areas we have seen both here and at home there is evidence of communities which are coming to grips with the reality that they are no longer sustainable with the corporatisation of agriculture and forestry, dwindling job numbers, alternative opportunities and family sized businesses being a casualty of the system. Reminiscent of the crofters moving off the land in Scotland, obviously different circumstances with landlords there but the result of empty deteriorating communities is the same. Sad.

Amid seemingly nowhere but at the crossroads of several roads way past lunchtime we came across a Buffet which was a bit quirky and doing a roaring trade. Have added a couple of pics.


An example of some of the better real estate south of Montgomery.


A work shot … check out the sleeper cab!


Another work shot of a log truck around the Greenville area. They have a huge overhang.



Our lunch spot. The T Shirts worn by staff have a pic of an old couple on the back, he says "where do ya wann go for dinner" she says "It don't matter".

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And an interesting sign on the door.


A very sad sight in Greenville, one of many.

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Greenville theatre apparently still open … hope so.


We stayed at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites.

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Category: Travel to USA

Another pretty big day with hot and humid conditions from start to finish. We spent all day on interstates (freeways) today as yesterday and oh my goodness was there ever huge volumes of traffic, big speed and heaps and heaps of trucks even more so than yesterday. Yesterday we travelled on the I95 and today the I85 and the I85 was more frantic. We’re glad we are familiar with trucks and their predictability but feel for anyone who might feel timid around them … in fact in those instances we would recommend not to use the Interstate system at all. It was interesting both days to note that the trucks always indicated to change lanes as we did but it was rare to see anyone else doing so … I don’t know why there are needless collisions! Mind you the law here is if there is a collision it is an offence NOT to move the vehicles off the road. Through traffic is treated as a priority.

Despite the speed and pressure of traffic we enjoyed being surrounded by rolling forested hills for the most part of our trip today interspersed with settlements of all sizes.

My thigh is a little more comfortable so managing okay. We need to bring our remedial masseuse along with us to help with the creaky bits in future it would appear……

Hurricane Dorian is building up off the lower east coast and may make downfall a bit later than previously expected so hoping to get through Atlanta and onto Louisiana then heading further north after that without getting drenched .... time will tell. The state of Georgia has declared a state of emergency so looking forward to getting out of town in the morning.

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Well well well, the work shot you get when you least expect it. Cannot believe the weight this was pulling!


A sorry little fuel stop. I think it was even hotter inside than out, couldn’t wait to get back on the bike!


Staying tonight at the Hilton Garden Inn Macon / Mercer University.

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Category: Travel to USA

Today was a big day’s riding initially on highways until we spoke to a policeman when we were getting lunch and he sent us on Route 64 which was much more picturesque. Similar crops this morning as yesterday with a small amount of tobacco thrown in as well and as we headed further west we were largely surrounded by rolling forest land as well as plantations of some sort of pine / conifer and not surprisingly we came across a paper mill. Route 64 was a lovely curvy road through many little communities and overall the townships appeared in better shape than those where there had been intensive agriculture where there was evidence of large corporate operations leaving many former farmhouses empty and neglected. Sad to see, but like what we see at home and talked about in Angelica a few days ago.

Lots of Crepe Myrtle trees in evidence today in street and home plantings as there were yesterday. Lovely displays in a variety of colours. Trees look nice and sheltered here so they probably survive well.

I managed to pull something in my thigh today *%$#””! , felt a twang as it let go, yuk, so had hoped to get a remedial massage to hopefully make it a bit more comfortable for tomorrow but unfortunately the hours had changed and they were closed, more *%$#””!. Walking very carefully now, even slower than Norm, … looks and feels a bit weird not to mention pretty painful.


A quaint old barn soon after we found a bit of country road to travel on.


And yes, country roads invariably mean gravel.


And a cute little cabin on the way.


A very specie house in Hendersonville.


Streetscape in Hendersonville from a cab back from the massage that didn't happen.


Staying tonight at the Red Roof Inn.

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Category: Travel to USA

The weather started warm and humid and progressed to hot and humid by the end of the day and we progressed from gold coast glitz complete with carnival rides to rolling fields of corn, mostly browned off, peanuts, melons and cotton.

We’re riding on mainly highways since we are on a bit of a mission to get to Louisiana to catch up with our nephew and don’t really have the time to explore many country roads where photo opportunities are more readily available but we got in early enough today to explore surrounding historic areas of Weldon and Halifax which was interesting and to again see how the rural areas are really struggling.

The highlight of the ride was travelling on the Chesapeake Bridge and Tunnel complex which was the purpose of us coming so far east. For Bransgrove family members, the 3 bridges and 2 tunnels (under the shipping channels) is 20 miles long which is the same distance from the farm in Neerim North to Warragul, 20miles! It was a shame the fishing pier and café’s were closed for work, we would have enjoyed the photo opportunities and had planned to have lunch there.


A sample of the historic buildings in Historic Halifax.


A specie house on the outskirts of Halifax.


Roanoke Rapids, yes only about 25m above sea level so things cannot fall too far … I guess.


Staying tonight at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites.

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Category: Travel to USA


1.     We nearly walked our legs off over the weekend and were a bit weary … felt like we’d been chasing a long-legged young thing around the city all weekend … oh hang on that’s what we were doing.

2.     We wanted to avoid tolls if possible as we are still having some toll transponder issues.

3.     There was heaps of traffic to deal with on the way out of NYC as well as many detours around roadworks so tested the sense of humour and concentration levels.

4.     We also had a ferry crossing on the Cape May – Lewes Ferry 54kms before our destination which ate up time waiting to get on the 1.5-hour trip on the crossing.

5.     Had a couple of shots to navigate to our hotel with a weird traffic treatment here. Bizarre!

Ocean City is a sort of Gold Coast type area chock full of holiday accommodation but for a limited season about to come to a halt next weekend (Labour Day weekend) when ‘the season’ ends and only the die-hards visit then as the weather gets rougher and less summer like.


And that bridge in the distance is the one we were supposed to be on coming out of NYC, the Skyway but we got there anyway in the long run in spite of roadworks / bridgeworks and detours.


Great morning coffee spot and a very American Diner.


More great infrastructure in another bridge, soooo much water in the waterways so if you can’t build bridges people can’t get anywhere. Necessity leads to great engineering obviously.


Outlying area of Atlantic City streetscape



And a very cute house in the suburbs.



Heading towards the first tunnel section of the Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel complex. Awe inspiring. No photo can do it justice ... where is a good drone when you need one?


Waiting for the ferry crossing and that is a 1965 Airstream caravan and a 3-wheel Ural motorbike – can engage both rear wheels, made in Russia, originally for WWII but now manufactured in cute colours and selling well apparently.


All aboard the ferry ... serous tie down procedures there are not.


And we are staying tonight at La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham.

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Category: Travel to USA

For our final day in the big apple we started earlier than yesterday and took the subway to the Port to check out the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex which was awesome and even if we had been there all day we still wouldn’t have seen it all and even Ashley found that there were different things to see than he had previously seen. We toured the Grumbler Submarine used as a launch pad for nuclear missiles as part of the deterrent program in the cold war. Then we toured the Intrepid Aircraft carrier which was used in WWII as well as Vietnam and now houses all sorts of historic planes, helicopters and all sorts of displays in the hangar not to mention heaps of others on the deck including a Space Shuttle in a massive shed!. We nearly walked our legs off then headed back to the subway and a cab to get to the Highline Walk which was once elevated railway lines and after public intervention stopped the wrecking of it and it is now a huge walkway and garden.

We headed back to the subway and Ashley got off to make sure the old people were pointed in the right direction so we wouldn’t get lost on the way to our hotel, we said our farewells and headed back to the hotel to freshen up then had a quiet dinner before turning in. It was a treat to be able to catch up and spend so much time with him.


Intrepid shots, this one of the deck from the Flag Room.


And this on the deck itself.


And the Space Shuttle Enterprise, impossible to fit it all in!


Then to the Highline Walk which was all kinds of wonderful. The raile lines have been left and are an integral part of the garden. Feel a bit sorry for some who have had their privacy impacted, but at least they no longer have a railway outside their windows ... and there is some quirky architecture in buildings along the way.


See what I mean?




And it continues.


And yes that really is a helipdad up the top!


And back to a view on our way back to the hotel, a very New York water tower for fire fighting following the great fire of New York.


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Category: Travel to USA

We continued our orientation of New York City and the Subway and headed with Ashley to the American Museum of Natural History which was wonderful. This is the building used in the movie ‘A Night at the Museum’ which must have been a logistical nightmare. We just loved the building which was immense and all kinds of wonderful as well as the exhibitions. Could spend all day. We enjoyed the Planetarium also which gave us things to tease out with Ashley … and probably drive him nuts as well. Ah well, you get that.

We explored a bit of Central Park and again were amazed at what a short distance you need to head into it to lose the sounds of the city. Such a lovely place to walk and just relax. We had another enjoyable meal together albeit a very noisy one in a bar on our way back to the hotel.

I’ll let the pictures tell the story again.


American Museum of Natural History building entry.


The foyer and the display begins.


T Rex.


Grand Central Park view.


And those guys again Norm and Ashley.


Brownstone apartments on the way back to the hotel.


An empty block now a Community Garden.


And some apartment gardening.



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Category: Travel to USA

Was a much more comfortable temperature for riding today through some rugged hills and mountains and tried to find local roads to ride into New York with little success but overall managed to find a few. It would appear that the Interstate highways and freeways are funded and maintained by the Federal / State Governments and anything else is taken care of (or not) by the Counties and OMG when we pulled off to get a coffee at a quirky little spot we found holes between the road edge and servo where you could have buried a cow or two but we were not to be deterred because we were on our way to catch up with our grandson Ashley who is doing a PhD in Astro Physics at Columbia University and thankfully we made our way quite comfortably into NYC, found our hotel, checked in and deposited our bikes about a  block away at a garage for the duration of our stay.

Once we freshened up Ashley came around and we had a brief tour of some of the Columbia Campus where he works and has been teaching which was great. We visited his apartment in a lovely Art Deco building (owned by the University) and then had a yummy dinner across the street from his apartment.


Where are we supposed to be?????


Country roads find interesting things.


Speccie Columbia Building. 

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Two of my favourite men, Norm undergoing his subway induction.


Dinner with Ashley.


Staying next three nights at the Belnord Hotel.

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Category: Travel to USA

Another hot and humid day. Early in the day we went past a sign to the Kinzua area and were reminded of a trip we had done to previously to see the Kinzua Bridge which was awesome. Search Kinzua on the blog and you will find it. Well worth the look.

We rode through lots of rolling forested hills throughout the day as well as farmland with crops as well as some cattle. Our coffee spot was in the little village of Angelica which was a treat. All kinds of pretty but again struggling. We were blown away by a little circle park as we entered town which had 5 Churches around it, a couple of houses and a Post Office. Very quirky.

Binghamton a bit larger town than some we’ve seen and some affluent areas but again some very tired areas with many challenges.


Jamestown view.


Jamestown view.


Angelica, all kinds of pretty.


Angelica, welcoming.


Angelica, around the circle, 2 of the 5 churches.


This is the seecnd of a series of signs before a Text / Rest stop. The first sign says "It can wait Text / Rest area 5 miles ahead' then this one is 1 mile before the stop.


And this one as you leave. They are sponsored by various businesses. Great idea.


And the Holiday Inn we stayed at.

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Category: Travel to USA

It was a challenge getting things almost dry overnight before we headed off, but the temperature remained hot and humid, so they sort of dried out over time. We rode through a lot of farming country and skated along the edge of Lake Erie which was rarely far away as well as forest areas and I was delighted to spot heaps of eagles soaring on thermals today which was a treat.

Norms quote for the day when we were having a coffee “Well Missy the clouds are ‘a building and the clocks ‘a ticking, let’s make a mile”.

Jamestown appears a tired little town and I don’t think I have ever seen so many people on the streets on wheelie walkers, motorised and not as well as on crutches. Turns out they have some serious rehab going on for drug and alcohol as well as physical and again the County is doing some serious refurbishing work but boy they have their work cut out for them. I wish them we

Also discovered that Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez came from here and there is a Museum for them here as well as a Comedy theatre.


Typical farm image.


From our window, the diamond is covered in plastic protecting it from the rain.


Toledo streetscape.


Work shot.

 Staying tonight at La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham.

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Category: Travel to USA

After enjoying the wonderful soft mattress for two nights we woke to hear there had been 4inches of rain to our south west overnight and there was a severe storm cell heading our way with severe wind, rain, hail and potentially tornado activity, the whole shebang.

The weather was hot and humid all day as we rode through lots of rolling fields of corn and potatoes, at least I think that’s what they were, the leaves looked a bit different to what we’re used to.

We saw very few bikes on the road, and we were pretty much the only ones in anything resembling protective safety gear … apart from those wearing a safety bandana, we can only assume the outsides are Teflon coated and the inside Kevlar lined … or not!

The weather predictions came true 35kms out of Toledo when the rain hit and we were on the turnpike so by the time we could stop (amongst roadworks behind barriers) we were soaked and figured it was too late to be of any great use to saturate our wet weather gear inside and out so headed off again. We had about 5km of nearly dry roads and thought ‘well that wasn’t too bad’ which was a mistake because the skies opened up 25km out with incredible rain accompanied by lightning and strong winds and a lot of hail for good measure. Apparently a lot of cars didn’t consider they could see well enough and pulled over and we were amazed we could see given we had water inside and outside the visors, perhaps that’s why they didn’t fog up, so we kept travelling. The water was pouring across the road and in one place was flooded across a dip around 4 – 6 inches deep. By the time we got in we couldn’t have been any more wet than we would have been if we had jumped into a swimming pool! We felt really bad dripping all over the hotel floor at the desk and on our way to the room.

It was a lovely old Art Deco Hotel which was looked after well but Toledo looked very tired and there is an obvious effort to revive the old industrial area. It looked rather nice and would be good to check it out later perhaps.


Services Plaza straddles the freeway so accessible from both sides. Very clever.


The first coffee for the riding trip in the services plaza.


A partial work shot with trucks in the background and some police very interested in our bikes, again at the services plaza.


The things you find on country roads ... when you can find them that is ...


A work shot.


Staying tonight at Park Inn by Radisson Hotel, the lovely Art Deco foyer.

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Category: Travel to USA

Well here we are in the good old USA for another adventure!

We flew with Air New Zealand Via Auckland direct into Chicago which was great being able to totally miss LAX where I don’t think we have ever had a plane leave or arrive on time not to mention very long hikes to everywhere.

We still had some long walks at O’Hare Airport, but it was the end of the trip, so Immigration and Border Control was also at the end of the trip not to mention some of the quickest we have been through.

The Chicago - Carol Stream area is a predominantly industrial / commercial area but is only a short hotel shuttle ride away from the bike shop.

We sank into our mattress last night and woke at 10am this morning. Aaaahhhh. Then off to collect the bikes. It was great to catch up with Mike and the team at Du Page Honda who we dealt with on our previous trips. They were ‘can do’ people then and continued to be now. Thanks guys. I’ll add a link to their website.

From there it was a quick bite of lunch and back to the hotel to get the toll transponders registered, bike panniers packed and sort the luggage for travelling.

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Bikes collected and there we are about to head off. Yippee!

 https://www.dupagehonda.com/And there we are outside Du Page Honda about to head off. Yippee!

Staying next two nights at Holiday Inn Hotel Chicago-Carol Stream.


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